SYRIA: A prominent academic from a renowned postgraduate school in Singapore holding US citizenship was today permanently banned from the country for working with a foreign government to influence the city state's foreign policy.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that senior academic and specialist Huang Jin, a professor on the US-China relations in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), and his wife Shirley Yang Xiuping, will be permanently banned from Singapore, in what is the first publicly known case of its kind in nearly two decades.
Huang gave what he claimed was a "privileged information" about the foreign country to prominent and influential Singaporeans, with the aim of influencing their opinions in favour of that country.
The foreign country was not named by the MHA.
"He knowingly interacted with intelligence organisations and agents of the foreign country, and cooperated with them to influence the Singapore government's foreign policy and public opinion in Singapore," the local media reported citing the MHA press release today.
Among those who Professor Huang gave the "privileged information" to was a senior member of LKYSPP, said the MHA, reported the Channel News Asia, saying the ministry had not named the person.
"The information was duly conveyed by that senior member of the LKYSPP to very senior public officials who were in a position to direct Singapore's foreign policy. The clear intention was to use the information to cause the Singapore government to change its foreign policy," said the MHA.
"However, the Singapore government declined to act on the "privileged information."
According to his profile on the school's website, Professor Huang has published extensively on subjects such as the US-China relations, Chinese elite politics, China's development strategy and foreign policy, Sino-Japanese relations and security issues in the Asia Pacific.
Apart from the numerous journal articles he has written, Professor Huang, who was director of the Centre on Asia and Globalisation, also edited books on subjects like China's Taiwan policy, the South China Sea dispute and China-India relations.
His opinion pieces and columns have appeared in newspapers including the Global Times, The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao. He has also appeared on Channel NewsAsia, a leading local television channel.
"Huang used his senior position in the LKYSPP to deliberately and covertly advance the agenda of a foreign country at Singapore's expense. He did this in collaboration with foreign intelligence agents," said the MHA.
"This amounts to subversion and foreign interference in Singapore's domestic politics," said the ministry.
According to the MHA, Professor Huang recruited others to aid his operations. It added that his wife, Shirley Yang Xiuping, was aware of what he was doing.
"Huang's continued presence in Singapore, and that of his wife, are therefore undesirable. Both will be permanently banned from re-entering Singapore," said the MHA.
Professor Huang and his wife both are US citizens.
The Singaporean government has in the past taken action against individuals who had carried out subversive activities for foreign countries.
In 1998, the Internal Security Department arrested four Singapore citizens. Three of them were agents for a foreign intelligence service, and one of them recruited the fourth person to collect intelligence on and to subvert a local community organisation.